Lana Del Rey is one of the most powerful, if elusive, voices in pop. In the last year, Del Rey has recorded tracks with the Weeknd, Brian Wilson, and producer and Chateau Marmont regular Emile Haynie. She was tapped by Harvey Weinstein to write a track for Tim Burton’s acclaimed film Big Eyes — the song earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2015. And if you watched the VMAs last month, it’s pretty clear that even Taylor Swift is paying attention to what Del Rey does next. But still, something about the ethereally retro singer-songwriter seems out of reach.
All this time, according to a Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe, Del Rey maintains that she has been working steadily on her forthcoming third LP, Honeymoon, since wrapping up her last album, 2014’s Ultraviolence. With just over one week to go until the official release on September 18th, we gathered all of the information that’s out there, from rare interviews and video clips to cryptic Instagram captions. This is everything we can say about the record so far.
“Honeymoon” Is the First and Title Track
“We both know that it’s not fashionable to love me/But you don’t go ’cause truly there’s nobody for you but me,” sings Lana Del Rey, sounding unadorned, as if setting ground rules, before being lifted out of reality on silken strings.
Del Rey recently told Beats 1 that her third LP is inspired by the beach. If this song is any indication, she was reading a lot of Daphne Du Maurier between swim breaks. “Honeymoon” unfurls like a psychological thriller, where signs of ruin are as true and intangible as perfumed air. “Dark blue, dark blue” ends one verse and begins another. “We both know the history of violence that surrounds you,” sings Del Rey.
Del Rey posted a picture of the lyrics along with a clip of her incanting the words “Our honeymoon” in a requisite shaky close-up frame. In the clip, a tiger ambles out of the brush, as if it walked out of her 2010 “Born to Die” video and right into this new one. The fatalism of “Born to Die” is implicit in Del Rey’s new honeymoon dream; she even calls her man “Mr. Born to Lose.” “I love this song because it encapsulates all of the things that come naturally to me,” Del Rey said via her website in July. “In some ways I feel it’s where the record begins and ends.”
‘Gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ May Be Back
Goodbye, Brooklyn flower crown. Hello, boots. Lana Del Rey has described herself as the ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra,’ a nod to the plucky hip-hop influences that dominated her first album, 2012’s Born to Die, and its second iteration, Paradise. Del Rey’s next album, Ultraviolence, was a departure from that sound. But for Honeymoon, she enlisted producers Rick Nowels and Kieron Menzies, who worked on her earlier songs like “Young and Beautiful.” Del Rey has also said to expect songs with a “muddy trap energy.”
…Especially on First Single and Video “High by the Beach”
As Del Rey told Beats 1, “High by the Beach” — released August 10th — enchants with an Andrews Sisters melody set to droning trap-fueled vocals. “The truth is/I never bought into your bullshit/When you would pay tribute to me,” she sings with practiced ennui. In the video shot by Jake Nava, Del Rey is a vision of Priscilla-by-the-sea with tumbling brown hair, flowing garments and magazines to burn. A helicopter of unknown origin (Russians? Paparazzi? Mark Ronson?) hovers outside her window. After posing around her empty abode, she pulls a machine gun out of a guitar case (one too big for a violin case) and blows the chopper away. Gangsta, indeed.
Lots of ‘Murica Love
“Living in the land of Honeymoons & Oil Tycoons/God Bless America, the land of pink champagne & purple rain/This is my favourite perspective/Nothing but white sails above and blue waters rolling in front of me for miles and miles,” wrote Del Rey in the caption of an Instagram selfie, teasing new lyrics.
Bowie Fans Might Appreciate “Terrence Loves You”
“I still get trashed, baby, when I hear your tunes,” Del Rey sings on the aching new track “Terrence Loves You,” which was released on August 21st. In the song, Del Rey’s heroine is so lost, she feels like she’s orbiting Mars when she goes to turn on the television: “Ground control to Major Tom/Can you hear me all night long?”
Del Rey has her sights on the real stars. The former philosophy major said that meeting with Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk was “one of the greatest days of my life” in her Beats 1 interview. She believes that America is on the cusp of new technologies like people were in the 1960s. Fittingly, the same day “Terrence Loves You” was released, so too was Del Rey’s Honeymoon album art, which features Del Rey atop a StarLine tour bus with a hotline — 1-800-268-7886 — written on the side. Those digits connect to Del Rey’s actual “Honeymoon Hotline,” which gives you the option of hearing “Terrence,” a lecture about metaphysics or a TED talk by Musk, where he explains the importance of Americans making reusable rockets.
Latest tracks: “Music to Watch Boys To” and “Freak”
Yesterday, Del Rey posted a Honeymoon sampler previewing two unheard tracks. “Come to California and be a freak like me too,” Del Rey beckons in her soprano ballad “Freak.” And be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. In the brief clip, Del Rey and four others dance in a slow-motion circle of mermaid hair, fringed sleeves and lace, basking in the glow of the endless-summer gods. In “Music to Watch Boys To,” it sounds as if she’s feeling the wrath of them. The eerie call-and-response verses are obfuscated by distortion while Del Rey’s smoky contralto hits the ocean floor.
“Music” was premiered in full today by Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. Del Rey has said the song is one her favorites. “It lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl’s eyes, her face,” Del Rey told LA Weekly of the song in January.
Honeymoon is one of Del Rey’s most visually compelling works, harking back to the days when Del Rey created her own music videos by piecing together archival clips and footage. Much of Honeymoon‘s promotional art was shot by her younger sister, photographer Chuck Grant. It’s all soft edges and wonder: A starlet gazing at the homes of Hollywood stars. A girl sitting in a garden. The delicate packaging of Honeymoon becomes a counterpoint for Del Rey’s more vulnerable tracks like “Music.”
Nina Simone reinterpreted
When Del Rey posted the Honeymoon track list on Instagram, the last song looked familiar. “I’m doing a cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,'” Del Rey told Billboard last January. “I like summarizing the record with a jazz song. I’m having fun with my interpretation.”
‘Honeymoon’ Has Been a Lot of Work
Lana Del Rey posted two pictures that give us a window into the life of the recording artist. The first was this selfie, captioned “So tired in the studio.” The second was a picture snapped from her V Magazine photo spread, and it’s a little more descriptive. In the caption, Del Rey tellingly wrote out a passage from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 1832 poem “The Lady of Shalott.” The poem is about a beautiful woman living alone on an island, in a small grey building, who will be cursed if she so much as takes an eye off her weaving. A cute knight comes paddling along. The Lady Shallott looks up from her work. It doesn’t end well for her.